British man linked to child sex offences in UK 'taught at Beijing school'

PUBLISHED : Friday, 26 April, 2013, 4:20pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 27 April, 2013, 9:07am

A British man wanted for questioning by the UK police in connection with child sex offences is reported to have been employed by a Beijing international school, prompting calls for tighter background checks on foreign teachers.

Neil Robinson, 46, was arrested last night in Beijing for illegally overstaying his visa.

He is wanted for questioning by British authorities in connection with the rape of a child and distribution of indecent images of children, according to BBC programme Crimewatch.

According to a website for foreign residents called Robinson taught at Beijing World Youth Academy.

It also says he was well liked by students. "It didn't seem to me that he'd be someone who'd do something like that," it quoted a 2011 graduate as saying.

A spokeswoman for the school yesterday confirmed that Robinson was an employee between August 2008 and last May.

She said the school was unaware of why he quit and where he went, and insisted there was no longer any relationship between him and the school.

"Conducting background checks is the responsibility of human resources staff," she said.

Tom Tang, CEO of Angelina ESL Cafe, a Beijing recruitment company, said yesterday Robinson's résumé said he was an English teacher in China from 2002.

Kate Alden, deputy head of communications at the British embassy in Beijing, said the embassy acknowledged that a British national wanted for questioning by British police was probably in China, but refused to disclose more information.

The case has generated heated online discussion about the large number of foreign English teachers in China.

To meet the growing demand for English-language tuition, schools in China often rush through candidate checks.

"Why can't Chinese schools conduct some background checks on foreign English teachers?" one online user asked.

Another said schools should also be punished. "If he proves to be a criminal, then the employing school must be penalised as well," he wrote.

Update: According to the Beijing police, Neil Robinson was arrested on Friday night in Beijing.